GLENDALE, CA — The Armenian National Committee of America – Western Region, in conjunction with the Armenian Film Foundation and the Gomidas Institute, sponsored a lecture on the most recent research in Armenian Genocide studies, featuring three specialists—Dr. J. Michael Hagopian, Hilmar Kaiser and Ara Sarafian—who, in addition to presenting talks on the topic, also introduced three new publications. The lecture, which took place on Wednesday, February 21, drew an audience of more than 125 individuals, among them survivors of the Armenian Genocide, and a number of community activists and prominent figures.
In his introductory remarks, ANCA-WR Executive Director Alex Sardar gave a brief overview of recent developments in the international arena vis-à-vis the recognition of the Armenian Genocide, and urged audience members to continue their active involvement in the Armenian Cause, by completing ANCA Bush postcards, which were available for distribution.
Dr. J. Michael Hagopian (Armenian Film Foundation) focused on the Armenian Genocide in Kharpert. He introduced the diaries of Tacy Atkinson, who witnessed the destruction of Armenians in Kharpert in 1915. Atkinson’s diaries, The German, the Turk and the Devil Made a Triple Alliance: Harpoot Diaries, 1908-1917, has just been published by Gomidas Institute Books, with an introduction by Dr. Hagopian. The scholar and award-winning documentary filmmaker touched on a number of fundamental issues in historical research, and used the Atkinson diaries in demonstrating the complexities of research into the Armenian Genocide.
Hilmar Kaiser (European Institute, Florence) discussed German and Allied wartime propaganda in the historiography of the Armenian Genocide. His latest book, Eberhard Count Wolffskeel Von Reichenberg, Zeitoun, Mousa Dagh, Ourfa: Letters on the Armenian Genocide, raises interesting questions about the understanding of German complicity in the Armenian Genocide. Kaiser, who was on the concluding leg of a successful US lecture tour, concentrated on Genocide-era propaganda, individual narratives and other texts in researching the Armenian Genocide, and the more comprehensive conclusions such research produces.
Ara Sarafian (Gomidas Institute, UK) presented a paper on the refusal of the British and United States governments to recognize the Armenian Genocide in light of the historical record. His recent critically edited volume, The Treatment of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire 1915-16 [Uncensored Edition], shows that already in 1916, the British and American governments had articulated the Armenian Genocide thesis. Sarafian, who was instrumental in the inclusion of representatives of the British Armenian community, including Genocide survivors, in the first British national commemoration of the Jewish Holocaust, made a strong case for the continuation and sophistication of scholarly research in Armenian Genocide studies, as a means of continuing community-wide activism in pursuing the recognition of the Armenian Genocide by various governments of the world, including the Republic of Turkey.
A lively question-answer period, moderated by ANCA-WR Chairman Steven J. Dadaian, ensued. Audience members and the scholars interacted on a variety of issues, including recent calls for “Armeno-Turkish dialogue,” insurance and real estate claims dating back to the turn of the 20th Century, the political and social implications of research in the Armenian Genocide studies field.
“The presence of these three pioneering scholars in one auditorium gave all of us an opportunity to explore the history of the Armenian Genocide from three unique perspectives—the perspectives of individual narratives of victims, perpetrators and witnesses—more of which have been unearthed by these scholars recently,” explained the evening’s moderator, Dadaian. “And judging from the response and questions, much of what was discussed by Hagopian, Kaiser, and Sarafian added to the audience’s understanding on and curiosity about the history of the Armenian Genocide, and its modern-day implications.”
For more information on the lecture, the ANCA Bush Postcard Campaign or the activities of the ANCA-WR, please contact 818.500.1918 or at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the ANCA website at www.anca.org.